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dixiemay
dixiemay asks:
Q:

My 10 year old sons teammates don't like him.

My son has played baseball since he has been 5.  It is the love of his life.  He is a good player not the best but definately not the worst.  This year he tried out for a select team and made it.  Not sure why but the majority of his teammates dont like him and he is very aware of it.  They make fun of him, laugh at him, and always are talking crap to him. Some of the boys wont even warm up with him before the game and throw the ball with him. He is a shy kid and doesn't talk back but I know it bothers him.  He has told me it does.  I just dont get it.  We have never had this problem with any other team before.  It is a few punk boys that start it and then others jump of the band wagon.  When he is alone with one of his teammates there are no problems. There are boys that strike out a lot and nothing is said to them but if my son  strikes out  they just talk down on him.  He will talk back to them after a while and tell them to shut up.  The coach doesn't really care that this is happening.  We are with these boys all the time about 3 days during the week and everything weekend playing baseball.  We are going to finish out the season and more than likely move on.  But we hate to run from a problem and I would appreciate any suggestions since this has never happend to us before.
In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Sports and athletics
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 16, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Hello,

What an incredibly frustrating situation for you and your son. I can understand why he would be bothered by this.  Bullying certainly can happen anywhere, including the baseball diamond.  It is a safe bet that many of the kids on the team do like him and would leave him alone if it wasn't for just one or two kids who decided to make him a target.  Do you happen to know any of the other kids on the team or their families?  Finding a peer who could just be there for him when these things happen may be a huge help for your son, even if it doesn't stop the bullying from occurring.  Having a friend makes a huge difference.  Having two friends would be even better if you can somehow connect them outside of the baseball setting in a smaller group.  It also may be a good idea to talk with the coach.  It may not be that he doesn't care, it may be that doesn't know what to do about it so he chooses to do nothing.  He may fear that if he intervenes, it will only get worse for your son.  Maybe a sit down with the coach to problem solve the situation would be useful.  Are there any other league officials that you could talk to?  Maybe an umpire or an administrative person?  Not to get anybody into trouble but just to see if there were any rules or policies in place that would help everybody figure out the appropriate way to proceed.  

The good news in this situation is that eventually the season will end and you will be able to move on, so it is about getting through this one day at a time.  Continue to support your son, empower him to try different things that may help as long as he is comfortable, and let him know that you and many other people are there for him and care about him.  And by removing your son from this team you are not running away, you are taking him out of an unhealthy environment where there is not proper supervision or structure.  It would be even worse to keep him somewhere that this is happening.  

Bullying situations such as these are complicated and it can take awhile to get everybody on the same page to create a safe environment, but it is worth a shot.  Talk to the coach or another adult involved with the team.  Take things one day at a time with your son and help him navigate through this difficult time by trying to give him as many positive experiences and relationships as possible.

Take care!

Counselor, Dominic
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